Shireen Madon

Case Study on Rusalka



It began with an opening, like a valley, a possibility of endless data. The water


carrying her on green wings, a fraction of bayou where the water runs bright,


the water catching the land vis-à-vis roots of mangroves and precise blossoms.


As though beauty were a thing to advertise, to binge, maybe to live inside.


Like a shocked house on stilts where she finds dead swallows under the floorboards,


such soft martyrs, pill-bottle small, shut eyes as though death is a bed made


of supernal silk, their bellies swelled with a trend of dry air–punctuated mesas


and cleanly pine. As she leaves, she carries a portmanteau of waterlilies, bottle-cap


jewels to trade for a bed, some taffy. Then the purge, the felt fall, the fairytale coming to an end.


SHIREEN MADON’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Greensboro Review, and The Margins, among others. A Kundiman fellow, she has been the recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers and a Bennet Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets.